Caution – Work In Progress!

Winning Streak

It’s not been about the amount of material I have posted that has made this a partial success for me, but the fact that I continue to notice that I look forward to writing them.  Sure some topics have made me very uncomfortable, while others have let my fingers fly across the keys.  There are days when I just can’t write, the emotions of everything surrounding me to painful to put down for the public, yet they get written and stored in some other fashion.

I’m finding that just like this blog, I’m a work in progress.  It’s a rare day that I look at the “Stats” tab since to me it would feel like Sally Fields proclaiming “You like me, you really like me!”  But it brings a smile to my face when I see some message that an individual likes something I wrote.  Comments continue to amaze me.

Some of the things I know I want to continue to write about:

The pain of having lost my daughter.  Getting that out helps me get through everything.  I can’t hide from it, so sharing it in some constructive manner is best.  She would have been the best part of my future, since she is the best part of my dreams.

Dealing with the absolute confusion and dispair I feel about a relationship, that I value maybe a little too much, since its dissolution back in September.  That longing for her presence, trying to cope with her absence, learning to live each day.

And what might become an intertwined topic of these medical concerns that kept me from writing part of October.  Sitting in a hospital bed, unable to communicate even with the person in the room.  And yes people, I could hear parts of what people were saying!  Those 3 days marked the longest I had gone without uttering anything since I was a infant.  The couple of days that followed even harder.  [great now I have a topic to write about later!]

For me it hasn’t been about a string of postings or some grind to find additional “followers”, the achievement that I have awarded myself is knowing that I’m trying.  Trying to reach out and pour out my heart.  It’s a humble experience, one unlike any other in my life.  And like my title says, a work in progress.

Trial of Tear

Under the Snow

I started to write, then I hit delete.

I started to write again, this time I just walked away.

Third time, not so much a charm as a noose!

This would have been such another great opportunity for me to write about an imaginary conversation I’ve always wanted to have with my daughter.  But every time I started, it just left me broken,  A Trial of Tears pouring from my eyes, clouding the keyboard.  Right now, I’m all for the warm blanket that would envelop me like an avalanche!

I wanted to write today, but I can’t.  Maybe I’ll go find some new blog for me to follow.  You guys are great!!

Unfinished Life

Leftovers Sandwich

I have such a collection of half written paragraphs sitting on my computer, the variety encompassing so many things.  Sentences about being in the hospital, fragments put to paper about feeling abandoned by friends who don’t know that even saying hello would help, entire pages dedicated to trying to understand, well everything.

11 unpublished works about how I feel scared.

8 unfinished letters to Whitney asking her for help.  Even when I know none is coming.

A steadily growing collection of notes, letters, pictures I have seen that made me think of my daughter.  All saved in a folder that is buried, yet always on the surface of my mind.

Notes to doctors asking questions, emails unsent to work saying I might need to take a break, too many letters…

The unexamined letter explaining to Whitney what happens if I don’t get better.  A scary letter to have written.  One I can’t send.

A letter to my parents letting them know the did everything they could, over the course of my entire life; and I’m grateful

Even a letter to Whitney’s parents thanking them for their support, even if it did go away.

None of these will ever see the light of day.  Never be opened by their intended recipient.

My Dream Daughter

Never Too Late

For a time last year there was nothing that could remove me from the bubble of joy I was surrounded by.  Waiting for the birth of my daughter was some of the best times in my life.  The hope I hadn’t felt for a couple of months had been completely pushed aside the day I found out about her.  I finally had a purpose aside from dragging myself to the office every day.  Thinking about names, joking because we had taken to calling her “The Bug” so that it wasn’t always baby this, or baby that.  A friend told me that she didn’t know what had changed, but she thought I was walking on clouds weeks before we told anyone.  That my mood about the weights I was carrying had shifted, something in me had changed; it was my little girl.  Throughout all of the arguments about family, worries about how we were going to do this, all of those things got pushed aside after they happened because I was driven to do everything possible to let her know I loved her.

I may have lost my daughter as she entered this world, but for those months she was everything I could have hoped for.  And today when I sit down and eat too much food, surrounded by my parents; a picture of her will be in my pocket.  There are going to be plenty of tears shed by me today.  I’m prepared for that.

Thank you my precious, little Bug!  And even though your mom won’t know it, Thanks Whitney for giving me those memories!  I hope you are safe, wherever it is you may be…

Refugee Thanksgiving – Then the Power Died

Shaken and Stirred

In my family we are used to having people just drop in for the holidays.  I can recall a Thanksgiving years ago where some guest who couldn’t make it back to Australia for the week showed up about an hour before the meal was set down.  They had no where else to go, and back then you could go to the movies and maybe a few restaurants, but nothing else.  So one year when I was living in Florida, it was refugee Thanksgiving.  I invited people who had no place to go, family too far away to visit for such a short turn around to come over and just relax.

The meal plan was simple, a turkey and a ham.  Nothing crazy, there wasn’t going to be 12 meat Lasagna, no Beef Bourguignon; just the staples of the holiday with mashed potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, and probably a bit of alcohol for those who really wanted it.  So getting up and figuring out the timing of things was simple enough.  It was a 25 pound turkey, stuffed full, so maybe 5 hours.  The ham just needed to be reheated since that particular item was not something I typically ate, I left it to another to tell me what to do.  So the by noon we have things moving along and people have started to arrive.  It’s Florida after all, there was a pool in the backyard and games on the televisions to watch.  Board games out on the deck, video games before the football coverage filled the house with so much life you’d think 50 people were there and not 15!

About 2:30 the strangest thing in the history of South Florida happened, the lights went out.  Normally this is a few minute event that only occurs during storms, but okay lets roll with it.  !0 minutes pass, 20 minutes pass and by now we are starting to wonder how to fix this issue.  A call to the power company lets us know that someone had too much to drink and had hit the converter station.  It was going to be a few hours before they could get things restored.  Great, half warm turkey, and cold ham and side dishes that had yet to even be pulled from the refrigerator!  Then the collected minds of people in their mid 20’s kick in – Let’s grill everything!

Ever tried to get both a turkey and a ham going side by side on the grill.  Not a pretty picture.  Arguments about how to maintain the proper temperature ensue.  The sides now sitting on the counter, trying to reach at least room temperature.  The rolls we had thought about now forgotten.  Could we run to the store and fill the missing items, sure!  But then we’re young and think we can solve this.  By now I have “borrowed?” the neighbors grill and set it next to mine.  We just doubled the cooking surfaces.  The first rational decision we have made.  Now the turkey is cooking and the ham is getting ready to be placed on our guest grill!

It took until maybe 6 p.m. until we sere in agreement that the turkey wasn’t going to send us all to the hospital by the next morning.  We’d even pulled out the stuffing to help ease our minds.  The ham was perfect, or so they tell me; not a fan!  The sides have been warmed up to the point where everyone is happy and we sit down for a meal.

Candles light the table, one of my friends brought his guitar and was sitting in the corner playing something suitable.  his way of letting loose on the stresses of the day.  And we all sat there looking at one another, knowing that this story was going to be something we told out children and grandchildren.  That’s when the laughter started.  And the fun came back for everyone.  No longer worried about anything except finishing the game of Monopoly on the living room floor.  Or maybe it was the couple who we later learned got engaged while walking around the park behind my house.

And the power came back around 8 p.m. Just in time to get things in the dish washer and sit down to finish those games!

I don’t know what to be grateful for as tomorrow approaches, but right now that memory is a good one.

Sword of Damocles – Borrowing Money

Calling Uncle Bob

I can track it back so easily, the date sticks in my mind like a spear constantly stabbing at me.  Reminding me that had I been able to handle my own problem, life might have been very different today.  Staring at a stack of medical bills that I just couldn’t figure out how to keep up with, I was in a full-blown panic.  Non-reimbursed expenses, payments that needed to be made two months ago, medication that needed to be ordered, I just cried while I looked at the pile.  It was July 21, 2012 and I only had one option left, go ask the in-laws for some help.  See if I could gt myself out from under the mess created from being sick and not being able to handle it by myself.

Sitting in the car down the street from their house, dialing the phone for my father-in-laws home office; my hands are shaking because it was the first time in eight years I was going to need their help.  I was afraid they would be so disappointed in me.  The mortgage was paid, there was always more than enough food in the house, and we had always been able to take those couple of weekend trips to visit family, go to a wedding, or just go out to dinner and a movie.  We were doing well enough.

As he sat there staring back at me as I told him the saga, you could see the concern growing in his eyes.  Some for the fact that I needed money, $7500 to get things right, other for concern for his daughter and the future that might have just changed in his eyes.  Could this guy care for his daughter the way he wanted?  Was this the beginning point of some slippery slope?  Was I okay?  After talking it over with both parents, we talked with Whitney about everything.  She knew there were issues, she just didn’t know I felt so trapped trying to solve them.  A deal was struck, the money would be repaid in 90 days and I would kick in an additional $500 as interest for the loan.

Over that time things just got worse.  I had some property that I was able to sell, but the money went to others in line ahead of the in-laws.  As time went on I let them look into my finances, tried to show them where the money was coming and going.  It was embarrassing, but when the woman whom you love asks you to do something that seemingly simple, you do it.  Even if it isn’t that easy for you.  It didn’t help.  The money was still bleeding out of the accounts to cover my medical stuff.  But we still paid all the bills on time and in full, so I was proud of that.  We were keeping things together.  But the specter of that loan hung over us, choking my relationship with her folks.

Eventually I was asked not to come to dinner anymore, the result of not having paid the money.  The result of her mother playing on the Google machine and asking questions that had nothing to do with me, but because someone had entered the wrong middle initial in some database, I was hiding something.  They started to question everything, but Whitney didn’t want me challenging them, “Just let it go, I’ll deal with them!”  She couldn’t, they were her parents.  She loved them, I loved them, so it became an issue for us.

A missed birthday, Thanksgiving 2013 spent with our separate families.  Mine desperately trying to include her in everything, her making sure to not mention my name.  Than we lose our daughter, then we lose each other.  Her family not knowing what was going on added to our stress.  The money always being the point of contention, never the fact we lost our child, not the pain of being pulled in two different directions, hiding from life because admitting the pain was too hard for her.  Or at least admitting it to me was too hard.

Borrowing that money and not being able to repay it was the Sword of Damocles that hung over our relationship.  It permeated everything and nothing was able to stem the tide of her mother wanting her way.  Leave him, he can’t take care of you, he’s holding you back [never understood that one, to this day I have a list of grants and scholarships that would have helped her continue her grad work.]  Eventually she left.

I wish I had never asked them for help.  It was only time I asked them for anything, not even help hanging a picture in the house.  Had I known that two years later the woman I loved would be gone as a result, I would have sold my car and walked everywhere.  We never had a chance after I deposited that check.  I love my in-laws to this day, am still grateful they were willing to help.  I know I disappointed them but their daughter never hurt for love, a safe place to sleep, food to eat, someone who protected her in any way possible; I thought I was doing my best to pay them back by making their daughter the priority.

I really wish I hadn’t asked them for help!!

Opening Your Heart – Daily Prompt

Envelope Pushers

Daily Prompt

The biggest risk I’ve taken lately was reaching out to friends to talk about how my medical situation is going.  I’ve been protecting most of them from the day to day aspects of what it is like to have chronic kidney issues and last week’s hospitalization forced me to start talking.  I’m a private person in many aspects, letting people know I need help in even the smallest of ways is a huge deal for me.  It’s always been easy to ask for help for another person, make them the priority; but I feel selfish asking for myself.

I was taken to the hospital on the 14th of November.  Unable to communicate what was going on, unable to help in my own medical condition; the hospital at first thought it was some type of emotional/mental issue.  It took time for them to run blood work in order to find that my body was poisoning itself and no one knew it.  By Saturday morning I was reduced to being in a medically induced coma because I couldn’t function.  My body was slowly stopping, my mind had already shut down due to the pain it wasn’t able to handle, my kidney having choked more of the life from me.  They tried to wake me up on Sunday, but my body just wasn’t ready.  All of the toxins still coursing through my veins hadn’t released their hold on me.  The antibiotics were just taking time, the Votrient fighting to keep me alive, tubes in my arms and nose; just a medical wonderment.

Monday they woke me up and the first thing I cried out for was my ex.  My brain still couldn’t wrap itself around the idea that she wasn’t there.  And knowing that my Medical Directive had been triggered, I couldn’t figure out if she had ever been there.  My mother looked like she had been dragged through the war, eyes red, skin pale, and not knowing what to say to me.  “Lary, she couldn’t be here.  You know that.  Even if she wanted to, she just couldn’t”.  The pain in her eyes evident since she was still grieving for a daughter she missed, even when she doesn’t admit it.

Slowly my mind started to clear, most of Monday is still blurry.  I do however remember them bringing me dinner later which consisted of pork tenderloin!  Somewhere it should have said I was on the vegetarian plan, but maybe this was my mother’s attempt at getting me to eat more meat.  I haven’t had pork since the Summer of 1988 after spending the time in Europe, I grew to hate that meat!  Now the questions start –

“How are you feeling?  Do you want us to call anyone to let them know you are here?”  Interesting question, I’ve been only telling people the broad strokes of “Yes, I spent time in the hospital over Halloween and three weeks before that.  Sorry I missed your party!”  What do I do now?

Saturday came about and I needed to let someone in my circle know what had been going on.  Let people know that I have been sick and needed to have some people check on me once in a while.  Maybe sit around and have a cup of tea, listen to music, play a board game.  So I sent out an email asking a couple I know to sit down and help out with some paperwork related to my hospitalization.  They agreed!  I was so happy that they made the time as soon as possible.  But then the hard part came.  Telling them what had happened, what was going to happen, and what I needed from them.

I never got to the what I need from them.  It was enough they came and listened.  Enough that I turned to them in a very small manner and said that I needed a little help.  We mentioned the ex, but I asked to not know anything about her comings and goings.  If she wasn’t going to be around, it was only going to make things more difficult for everyone.  Two months out and she is still the person I need the most, and maybe too much.  But that’s what over a decade together gets you!  I’ve tried to keep her up to date, but who knows if she reads the emails I’ve sent, listened to the voicemail I left last Friday so that she could hear my voice and know I was better than I had been.

I don’t know what the future holds anymore.  I do know that I can control one thing, be honest with my friends and family about what is happening.  Let them decide how they are going to be there, if they can be there, if they even want to be there.

That’s been the most difficult boundary, opening up my heart and hoping someone just offers you a smile.  A kind word.  Maybe a little of their time…